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How to mourn the departed, digitally

Human race has tried to remember the dead by building pyramids, memorials, statues and even tempered tombs.

In many communities, a funeral is one event attended by the most number of people, voluntarily.

The need to pay last respects and to mourn with the bereaved touch the core of human beings.

Due to exigencies of life, however, not everyone can attend a funeral, in person.

In an age where everything is digital, shared, and social, grieving is no exception. We now have online memorials.

MEMORIAL WEBSITE

An online memorial is a website that provides a central location where their family and friends can visit to share stories, fond memories, photographs, comfort one another and grieve.

The memorial can remain online for life or for a specific period of time allowing people to visit and contribute any time at the pace and in their own privacy.

When someone dies, Kenyans take to social media to eulogise the departed.

Others head to the home of the departed person to condole with the family.

However, it would benefit the family and friends if all the messages scattered on various online platforms are corralled and funnelled to one place.

CONDOLENCES

Online memorial platforms serve this purpose.

They allow families to receive a flood of condolences quickly and privately.

In many cases, the simple messages and memories left behind are extremely meaningful to grieving families, and help to facilitate the grieving process.

The sites can be shared all over the world and provides a platform that everyone can access, at any time.

There are literally dozens of these types of sites on the Internet today.

To locate them, do an online search for “Online Memorial Websites.” In the meantime, here are a few good sites to check out.

BIOGRAPHY

ForeverMissed.com memorial websites allow families and friends to celebrate the life of a lost loved one by writing life biography, sharing stories, leaving tributes, compiling photo, audio and video albums in their memory.

NeverGone.com site is created by a web developer who lost his grandmother and didn’t like any of the other memorial offerings.

The site itself now stands as a memorial to her. The basic functionality includes photos, stories, guest book, tributes, virtual candles, and a number of personalisation options and backgrounds.

While not elaborate, it’s well designed and best of all, free.

There are some people who are viscerally attached to their pets. Those too are not left behind.

Tributes.com offers lasting tributes for the departed, human as well as pets.

REMINDERS

Tributes.com charge to upload a photograph. There are no comments or interaction options. You can setup anniversary email reminders.

For the pets, with about Sh2,500 you get an “Eternal Tribute” that offers unlimited photos and an integrated video and slide show with background music.

When those on Facebook depart, their family can help memorialise them by “freezing” their account.

Once frozen, the account cannot be unfrozen. Only confirmed friends can see their profile or leave posts on their page.

You can do this by clicking on the flower or star in the right hand corner of the page, and then clicking on “help”. This will “visit the help centre”.

DIGITAL SUPPORT

In the search box type, “deceased user delete,” and then choose “memorialise or remove account”.

Grieving can make mourners feel alone in the world. Digital support reminds mourners that they’re part of a community that cares about them, including people who might not be able to attend the funeral or service.

It unites people, giving them the opportunity to share unique stories and memories.

In some cases, social memorials can even serve as enduring legacies. Mourners are able to return to social memorials long after a funeral has concluded to review the warm-hearted posts left behind.

Writer is informatics specialist. [email protected] @samwambugu2  

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